For the better part of 17 years, I’ve served both in business and in local churches simultaneously. There were just two brief stints where I was considered “full time”. Here are some of the benefits to being bivocational:
• Regular interaction with non-church people. (aka “normal” people)
• You learn what it means to actually work. Some pastors don’t learn this.
• One can relate better to the average family that works and THEN volunteers at the church.
• On average, you’ll be able to financially support your family better.
• You can give more (on average).
• Multiple bivo staff can multiply your impact in the community.
• The average church attendee is more understanding of the pastor’s limited time.
• Many skills in the business world are applicable in the church.
• Ministry decisions are less likely to be driven by the finances attached to it.
• You can take bigger ministerial risks.
• If you’re hardwired with drive or entrepreneurial spirit, being bivo will help keep boredom at bay.
• Developing leaders and prioritizing your time isn’t optional for bivo pastors.
• If God calls you to serve in an unhealthy church for a season, you don’t have to “trust” the people to provide for you. (Is it too cynical for me to say that?)
While bivocational ministry isn’t for everyone, I do think every pastor should work a full time job and volunteer in ministry at some point just to see how different it is. Ministry leaders without this experience are missing valuable pieces when it comes to relating to the families in their congregation.
“Don’t you remember dear brothers and sisters, how hard we worked among you? Night and day we toiled to earn a living so that we would not be a burden to any of you as we preached God’s Good News to you.” 1 Thessalonians 2:9
Any other benefits you can think of?